“Digital transformation” is a buzzword that relates to any form of IT change management programme that uses technology to cut costs or focus resources on revenue generation. By performing digitisation processes, such as the automation of tasks and the integration of systems that share data, organisations can move away from administrative exercises and focus more on analysis and decision-making, increasing staff productivity and generating significant cost savings.
This step-by-step walkthrough will help organisations deliver:
- A lower cost of ownership of IT infrastructure for both capital expenditure (PP&E) and operating expenditure (power and networking)
- A reduction in administration and management of IT hardware and software applications
- Increased availability of software applications, as the apps are no longer tied to specific pieces of hardware that may fail
- Improvements in the speed of data recovery times from backups, which can also be taken more regularly
- Heightened security around data from third parties that architect platforms based on industry best practice
- More opportunity to outsource non-core practices of the IT function, such as hardware support and replacement
Happi is a tool that facilitates the delivery of a successful IT change management programme by:
- Allowing for the rapid procurement and provisioning of IT infrastructure from leading cloud suppliers, including Microsoft and Amazon
- Enabling users to make quick cost comparisons between cloud providers and cloud platforms
- Providing easy access to technical consultants to assist with the delivery of the programme
- Linking hybrid platforms across global locations
In three sections this guide walks users through the typical steps of a digital transformation programme and highlights how Happi can be used along the way.
1. PLANNING AND SCOPING
- Audit existing environment
- Gather costs / project codes / owners / warranty details etc
- Identify relationships between workloads so you know what has to move together and what is connected
- Ensure roadmap is vendor agnostic
- Identify the workloads
- Prioritise the workloads to move first
- Calculate the cost/benefit of moving each workload to different platforms, and ensure dependent workloads move together
- Visually explore different options
- Collaborate with multiple users, in one place, to define best practice
3. DELIVERY AND REVIEW
- Stage the build-out of the provisioning of platforms and movement of data
- Automate the delivery of the platforms being ordered and have clear lead times and expectations
- Have complete visual transparency over the project progress
- See costs and compare predicted costs with actual
- Manage and plan infrastructure from one pane
- Engage the expertise of technical consultants to help with different parts of the platform
Planning and Scoping
The first stage in a digital transformation is planning and scope. During this stage, organisations identify what needs to be achieved and calculate project feasibility. By recording existing hardware and configurations, the way they interact, and the workloads and applications they run, project leaders can identify the assets they have and the ones they need, in which form, to simplify the environment for a digital transformation.
Planning and scope is made up of four key steps:
Reviewing billing records, invoices and contracts, by location, provides organisations with a snapshot of system architecture which can be used to create a comprehensive audit of existing assets. Staff can then use this audit to compare invoices with services used to identify under-utilised assets and make initial cost-savings.
2. ASSET TAGGING
Once assets have been audited, asset tagging of costs, project codes, owners, and warranty details etc provides a detailed understanding of the function each asset performs and how much it costs to run. This helps determine its value in the environment and whether it’s needed.
3. ASSET DEPENDENCY
Identifying the dependence of applications and data upon one another reveals into what’s linked to what and, therefore, what must move together. Understanding this process helps identify risk, as disruption can occur as a result of moving one dependant asset without the other.
Performing vendor agnostic roadmapping removes the possibility of asset lock-in – preventing workloads from being moved in the future – and provides cost-savings, as cost comparisons between cloud providers and cloud platforms can be made to identify the best deal.
The Value of Happi
Planning and scope provides organisations with understanding of where assets are based and how they interact with one another to determine the work needed to digitally transform, from both a physical point of view and a cost point of view. The value of Happi is that it enables you to visualise this process, providing a clearer picture of how assets interact. Get the functionality to drill down into individual locations and provide clarity on how many assets are in an office, how many servers to a rack, how many apps are running on the hardware etc., and also provides a quick cost comparison tool to drive additional cost savings.
Once assets have been audited and tagged and inter-dependencies are established, the analysis stage becomes the single most important step in a digital transformation project. The inability to ask the right questions is the most common point of failure in digital transformation and will result in business downtime, complex IT systems, and a lack of agility – the exact opposite of the transformation objectives.
To get it right from the outset, organisations must really examine the non-exhaustive list of considerations below or, at the very least, enlist external assistance to fulfil this role. Failure to do so will result in an inability to identify risks, meet commercial goals, and deliver strategic outcomes – wasting time, money, and resources.
The analysis stage is comprised of five steps:
Identifying which business workloads are essential, which are surplus to requirements, and which need modernising – keeping in mind asset inter-dependencies – enables the prioritisation and migration of mission-critical workloads.
Organisations must identify workloads in terms of their value to the ‘ultimate endpoint’, in addition to those that:
- Represent the biggest risk to the organisation if they fail / data is lost / they are unavailable
- Cost the most in terms of upkeep
- Are not fit for purpose
- Are linked with other systems
- Are the closest to being out of contract / support / warranty
- Utilise legacy architecture
Once identification is complete, organisations should prioritise workloads to migrate. To determine priority, you must rank workloads in order of:
- Biggest potential savings to the organisation
- Disruption caused
- Risks to the organisation
After prioritising workload value, it’s important for organisations to run scenario analysis for different platforms – IaaS, SaaS, on-premises etc – considering both current workload challenges and the ongoing support needed post-migration.
To determine the best platform for each workload, you must calculate:
- Cost comparisons of different platforms
- How long it will take to migrate
- How much disruption and change is required
- How many other systems would be affected
- Who supports the workflow in the result of a change
- If technical expertise is required to get there
- Whether both IT staff and business teams require training
And should also consider:
- Will a change of platform result in vendor lock-in?
- Where is the data being stored, and are there compliance issues?
- How frequent are backups, and how do they work?
- What are the core responsibilities of the organisation/third-party?
Once each workload platform has been assigned, organisations should visualise the migration workflow. It’s critical to categorise all workloads by priority and compare the different routes available. Each organisation is different and will need to assess what’s best for them.
Common methods include:
I. Prioritising Quick-Win Projects
Choosing to consolidate legacy infrastructure through virtualisation provides organisations with newer hardware and eliminates the need to extend warranties. But the benefits may be negligible and assigning resources may not be worth the cost.
II. Prioritising Most Critical Projects
Selecting to redesign revenue generating software so that it’s faster than the competition will provide more business wins for an organisation and even offer commercial benefits. But it could take years to complete, and there is no guarantee of any short-term benefits in the meantime.
III. Prioritising Riskiest Projects
Choosing to deal with the most high-risk workloads first may remove many of the larger obstacles early in the transformation, but may also mean the ability to sell is not improved in the short-term, allowing competition to overtake.
Constant evaluation of what is and isn’t working throughout the transformation is key in all project management scenarios.
Organisations should periodically assess and adapt activities to ensure they’re as effective as possible. Evaluation will identify areas for improvement and ultimately help you realise goals more efficiently.
Throughout the analysis phase, you must examine all possible avenues and then re-assess priorities accordingly.
Carrying out the steps outlined in the analysis stage is a crucial driver to project success. Without an understanding of the value of workflows and the order in which to move them to minimise costs, disruption, and risk, the transformation will ultimately fail.
The Value of Happi
The value of Happi during the analysis phase is that it enables you to quickly compare costs between cloud providers and cloud platforms – including Microsoft and Amazon – to determine workload platform. It operates as a management control panel, providing project leaders with a clearer understanding of the digital environment and the opportunity to manipulate system settings to optimise the configuration and visualise the best migratory workflow. And, with its wide user and consultancy network, it also enables communication and collaboration with multiple users who can share their ideas and advice in one central place, as well as providing easy access to technical consultants to assist with the delivery of the program.
Delivery & Review
The final stage of the transformation is delivery and review, otherwise known as the payoff stage. The aim is to deliver the project in-line with the digital strategy laid out in the precursory steps and extract the greatest value from the digital environment utilising continuous optimisation techniques.
To streamline the delivery and migration of assets, organisations must create a staged workflow which encompasses the:
- Provisioning of workload platforms
- Staging of key assets
- Deployment of workflows
- Optimisation of digital environment post-migration
Once the stages have been finalised, organisations can begin to automate some of the delivery processes. Automating workload delivery allows you to connect to new resources faster and more intelligently, reducing downtime, and determines clear lead times and expectations which can be aligned with the stages defined in the previous step.
3. TRACK PROGRESS
Tracking stage-by-stage progress provides greater transparency into the status of the project so you can identify any scope-creep and monitor/rectify the situation before it causes irreparable time, cost, and resource-syncs.
4. COST COMPARISON
As part of the review stage, organisations must be able to see, compare, and calculate the cost comparisons between actual spend and predicted spend.
If the project is under-budget, it could be a sign of incomplete migration; if it’s over-budget, there may be an overcharge on one of the platform accounts. Ideally, the actual and predicted costs should match, signifying that the project is on-target.
Organisations must evaluate the performance of the transformation on an ongoing basis, preferably from one single pane. Using a control panel that provides valuable data, such as bandwidth and utilisation statistics, offers greater insight into the performance of the configuration and this data can then be used to conduct tests, maintenance, and experiments to find the technological environment most conducive to workforce productivity.
6. TECHNICAL SUPPORT
Some organisations will often not have the technical expertise needed to effectively manage each stage of the transformation. In these situations, you must seek and engage the services of technical consultants to help with the different parts of the platform and offer their expertise.
The Value of Happi
The value of Happi throughout the delivery and review phase is that it enables communication and collaboration with multiple users, in one place, and it provides access to technical consultants with the expertise to help implement the transition processes. The tool also acts as a management control panel, providing project leaders with information needed to effectively manage the transformation deployment. And, as the only tool that allows users to design, buy, and deploy hosted infrastructure anywhere in the world, Happi can help through every stage of the delivery and review stage.
Digital transformation is a relatively new phenomenon, which, at its most basic, refers to a change management digitisation that aims to cut costs or improve revenue generation activities. With a specific focus on infrastructure, this guide has detailed the transitional journey of three distinct steps, each comprised of important processes that organisations must follow to meet objectives and add value.
To deliver strategic outcomes effectively, it is imperative that you choose the right tools to support each stage of the transformation process. Happi is perfectly equipped to act as an end-to-end digital planner. Through its advanced GUI and visualisation capabilities, its intuitive design and live-pricing integration, and its ability to act as a powerful management control panel, Happi has the functionality to support a transformation project from its inception through to deployment.